History of the Prothonotary's Office

The Prothonotary is an elected constitutional office in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The word "Prothonotary" is a Greek and Latin term meaning "First Scribe." In Bucks County, the office predates the founding of the Commonwealth. The first Prothonotary, Phineas Pemberton, was appointed by William Penn in 1683.

In addition to serving as Prothonotary, Pemberton was also Recorder of Deeds and Clerk of Courts. He operated out of his house, which he named after his hometown in England, Bolton Mansion. It still stands in what is now Levittown.

Over the years the office recorded documents including a list of stallions, doctors and dentists, slaves and their respective markings and brands, and also Lunacy Dockets. The records date back to 1684 and are preserved in northern Pennsylvania.

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